Updated

Efforts to Grow Jobs and Opportunities in Morocco – Jean R. AbiNader

Jean R. AbiNader
April 17, 2019

Jean R. AbiNader, Moroccan American Center

This past week, the government of Morocco reported the results of its efforts to build valued jobs for its citizens and enhance economic stability through diversity. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the country has met a bit over 81% of its targets under the  Industrial Acceleration Plan(IAP), the five year effort focused on new jobs through industrial expansion. Current data shows that 405,496 jobs were generated between 2014-2018, towards the goal of a half million jobs by 2020. It noted that 49% of the jobs went to women.

The strongest growth was in the automotive industry, with 116,611 jobs equal to some 28.8% of new jobs reported.  Textiles came next with some 79,300 jobs (19.6%), followed by offshoring/call centers with 69,932 jobs (17%), agribusiness at 63,198 jobs (15.6%), then the mechanical industry and building materials industries each with less than 5% of new jobs created.

Disappointing results were found in the aeronautics sector, with only 8,636 jobs against a 2020 goal of 23,000. With the supply chain companies still setting up shop in Morocco, the results for the coming year should improve. Another bit of positive data released by Minister Abdelkader Amara was that Moroccan exports increased by 50% over the past five years from $18 billion in 2013 to $26 billion in 2018, reflecting growing auto exports and agricultural products.

The Ministry took the opportunity of releasing the figures to restate the country’s commitment to leverage industrial growth for “job creating and the professional integration of young people,” particularly through vocational training, as emphasized by King Mohammed VI. As mentioned in a previous blog, Education Minister Said Amzazi recently presented a national strategy for building vocational training hubs in each area of Morocco. Called “cities of professions and skills,” these facilities will include training in a range of skills that reflect growing opportunities in the specific regions.

To help build job opportunities, Morocco recently agreed to a partnership with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) for $206 million to promote inclusive economic development, competitiveness, exports, and job creation as core items in the four-year action plan (2019-2022) signed last week. The Bank will fund social projects, including INDH preschool education and diversification of economic development. A key feature is the almost $94 million allocated to improve rural development in the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region, an area of unrest due to a lack of attention to economic and social development.

Job creation was also the focus of the annual EMI-Enterprise Forum, a leading job fair held earlier this month with the goal of connecting Moroccan engineering students with businesses. An article in Morocco World News,  quoted Moulay Larbi Abidi, director of the Mohammadia School of Engineers (EMI) saying, ““The forum will help students immerse themselves further into [the] development and progress of our country and all future relative projects.”

The event hosted more than 100 companies, both local and international, and provided students with workshops to help them build their resumes and interview skills. The theme for the forum was economic intelligence, emphasizing the analytical skills needed to anticipate changes and risk in the economy. Academic leaders at the event noted their commitment to such training as vital for students entering the job market in Morocco and elsewhere. It is of concern when, for example, more than 600 engineers leave the country annually, according to education minister Said Amzazi.

This was the 25thedition of the event at the University, which was founded by King Mohammed V in 1959.

 

Energy sector is growing and creating jobs according to Aziz Rabbah, Minister for Energy, Mines, and Sustainable Development in a recent interview. With more than $13.7 billion invested since 2009, the government emphasizes projects that employ Moroccans and uses content produced in the country. Morocco is also investing in research in renewable energies that is building its capacity for innovation and local development. These commitments are attracting international investors and bringing the country closer to its energy sufficiency goals.

As Morocco’s renewable energy initiatives increase, it is able to introduce new renewable technologies to other fields such as consumer and residential uses and solar equipment for pumps in agricultural irrigation. Both the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the government of Morocco have programs that enable farmers to purchase the solar equipment at reduced prices, spurring the rapid adoption of the technology. Next up is passing legislation that would permit households to invest in solar energy systems to fulfill their needs and to sell the surplus through pumping it in the national electrical grid, according to the Minister.

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